The VANDERWOU Group from Dongen exists this year 640 year. The company, which since 2006 has also been offering coach transport in addition to taxi transport , has experienced significant growth since 2006. The corona crisis has not slowed this down. Acquisitions continued and two new industries were established: a bodyshop and a traffic school. Director Arjen van der Wou talks to TaxiPro about the company’s working method.
Laurentius van der Wou, Arjen’s great-grandfather, has VANDERWOU in 960 set up. At the time it was a bicycle workshop and then it became a garage. In 2006 the first car was purchased for passenger transport. “Because there were several cars in and around the building, people were sometimes asked whether people could also be taken from A to B. This is how the taxi branch came into existence”, explains Van der Wou.
Arjen’s grandfather eventually took over the company and later his parents were at the helm. Arjen himself received in 2006 in addition to his training a role within the company, because his father was unable to work due to illness. In June 2021 he took over the shares completely from his parents. “Although the early arrival was unexpected, continuing the business has always been my goal,” he says. “The company is – as the name suggests – a group. We have taxis and coaches, do car service and damage repairs, sell midi buses and now also have a traffic school.”
When it comes to passenger transport, VANDERWOU has now 640 drivers and almost 90 different vehicles. “When you grow as a company, you don’t have more control over everything. It’s too big to take charge of everything yourself. That is why we have chosen to appoint co-owners with knowledge of the trade for a few branches within the group. In addition, we can also rely on a great management team that tries to arrange things well for both customers and employees.”
Other branches of sport due to tenders Expansion to other industries is a tactical step, according to Van der Wou. “As a taxi company you have to deal with tenders for target group transport. And despite the fact that you carry out assignments well, you can lose certain transport after a number of years.” To create more certainty, VANDERWOU has started to focus on other branches of sport. These all have common ground with cars and transport.
The same goes for the traffic school, where from 2021 driving lessons are offered. “As a company, we thought this was a good step, especially because the CBR has been in the news in recent years because of the long waiting lists. And of course also because it fits well with the taxi, damage repair and car service branches. We can now start training taxi drivers ourselves and employees who do more damage can contact us to brush up on their driving skills.”
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VANDERWOU Traffic Training. Great windfall in times of corona But the company also has has not stood still in recent years. In June 2006 we took over taxi company Taxi Events from Rijen . The talks for this were already underway just before the corona crisis started.” In addition, several single pitters were acquired and in July 2021 travel agency Bos Coach Travel, but also individual coaches and taxis were bought from companies that stopped because of corona. “We have also purchased a convertible party bus and a Mercedes S-class for luxury transport.”
All this was possible because, just before the first corona outbreak, VANDERWOU received a considerable amount of fixed taxi and coach work in Breda, due to the bankruptcy of TCR from Zeeland. . “That is what pulled us through the corona time. We’ve only had a coach business for six years and this has been a nice stroke of luck. We started with six coaches and there are now 21. This order has given a major boost to the coach branch and we can continue this transport for at least another year and a half. Not extremely long, but we can still move forward.”
Do not let drivers go That the transport continues reasonably well , does mean that sufficient drivers are needed to continue driving the journeys. This is because of the shortage of drivers in the industry not an easy task. Nevertheless, according to Van der Wou, it is still possible to complete the planning. “It would be nice if it were easier, but luckily we didn’t let anyone go because of corona. Of course there were employees who were already around retirement age, who thought it was a good time to stop working.” According to him, a few of them have already chosen to return, because they missed the work.
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Vehicles VANDERWOU. Future plans As far as the future is concerned, Van der Wou hopes that the company can continue to grow and that corona therefore quickly disappears into the background. In the field of tenders for target group transport, he has not yet set his sights on a specific assignment. “Not yet in the coming year, but the year after that we will probably have new assignments. In any case, we want to focus on more individual assignments. Because all those large orders are great when you have them, but if you lose them, you have a problem at first.”
For now, Van der Wou is focused on making more acquisitions and the creation of more new industries. “But also working on the success of existing industries, with new customers and assignments.” The entrepreneur is happy that all initiatives that the company has started so far have been successful. “That everything you come up with as a company succeeds is what I am most proud of. And we just continue, with – as we always say – the gaze of infinity.” Read also:
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